30,000 investors around the world fear their money is gone - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

30,000 investors around the world fear their money is gone

By Athea Paul email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

FREDERICKSBURG, VA (WFLX) - A wanted financier with strong South Florida ties was tracked down and caught Thursday night in Virginia.

R. Allen Stanford has two offices in our area and is accused of swindling investors in an $8 billion fraud scheme. Those investors stretch across 131 countries. Now, Stanford has surrendered his passport, and FBI agents have served legal papers to the Texas billionaire.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Stanford and three of his companies for promising improbable high returns on CDs as well as other investments. Investors thought they couldn't go wrong.

"Ironically, we thought these CDs were the safest thing in our portfolio," said one Stanford Investor.

About 30,000 Stanford investors around the world fear their money is gone. Standing 6-foot-4, the 58-year-old Stanford is a larger than life figure with Forbes magazine estimating his worth at $2.2 billion.

He's bankrolled sports tournaments and is a major player in politics giving millions, mostly to Democrats.

He owns a home in the U.S. Virgin Island and operates businesses from Houston to Miami and Switzerland to Antigua, a government that three years ago knighted him for his economic influence and charity work.

Stanford's father says he's shocked at the accusations. "He'll give it a good battle. My son is a fighter; I can tell you that," said James Stanford.

Fallout from the case is already felt around the world. Venezuela has seized a failed bank controlled by Stanford after a run on deposits there.

Clients were prevented from withdrawing their money from Stanford International Bank and its affiliates in a half-dozen other countries.

Federal prosecutors stress these are civil , not criminal charges, and Stanford has not been arrested.

Still, federal agents continue to investigate the case.

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